Cary-Grove grad Priester drafted at No. 18 by Pittsburgh Pirates
Recent Cary-Grove High School graduate Quinn Priester was almost speechless before he was drafted No. 18 overall by the Pittsburgh Pirates Monday, let alone after.
Under the weather for the last week with a bug that nearly sapped his speaking voice, the 6-foot-4, 205-pound right-hander perked up when adviser Sam Samardzija called Priester's cellphone ahead of the televised pick to let him know his dream was about to be realized.
Priester stepped out of the room to take the call and returned with a smile wider than the nearby Fox River.
Moments later, surrounded by approximately 30 family members, two handfuls of coaches that helped guide him and all his buddies, Priester officially became a first-round pick in Major League Baseball's first-year player draft.
"It's actually insane to think that I was the first high school arm off the board," he said. "It's a dream come true going to a great organization like Pittsburgh that develops high school pitchers extremely well. It's a fantastic ballpark with a fantastic fan base. It's everything I could have ever wanted and more. It's unbelievable. I just feel pure joy and excitement."
In a 5-4 win over Huntley in a Class 4A sectional semifinal, Priester allowed 2 earned runs on 4 hits and 2 walks and struck out 11 in 6⅔ innings.
Recently Named the Illinois Gatorade Player of the Year, Priester (8-2) struck out 91 in 60⅓ innings, walked 14 and posted a 1.16 ERA.
Priester is the first Illinois high school pitcher to be selected in the first round since Atlanta Braves pitcher Mike Foltynewicz of Minooka was picked 19th overall in 2010.
Waubonsie Valley pitcher Michael Bowden was taken in the supplemental first round (47th overall) by the Boston Red Sox in 2005.
Priester's draft stock rose last summer. He recovered from spring forearm tendinitis with a strong showing on the national showcase circuit.
His four-seam fastball has been clocked as high as 97 mph, while his low-90s two-seam fastball with movement is hard to hit. Both are offset by a hard-spinning curveball with bite.